Saturday, 4 March 2017

Depleted uranium 'threatens Balkan cancer epidemic'

In a Jeera doc about a suspected soft coup in Macedonia, the DU issue was raised again:

BBC

A British scientist says the Americans' use of depleted uranium weapons in the war with Serbia is likely to cause 10,000 extra deaths from cancer.
A British biologist, Roger Coghill, says he expects the depleted uranium (DU) weapons used by US aircraft over Kosovo will cause more than 10,000 fatal cancer cases.
Mr Coghill, who runs his own research laboratory in south Wales, was speaking at a London conference called to discuss the use by American and British forces of DU in Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war.

High radiation levels

He said there had been evidence in other parts of the Balkans of elevated radiation levels during and soon after the war with Serbia.
In mid-June scientists at Kozani in northern Greece were reporting that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo.
And Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia.
DU is a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for making nuclear weapons and reactor fuel. It is 1.7 times heavier than lead, and is used for making armour-piercing rounds.

Safety controversy

Both the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence insist that it poses no significant danger. But Mr Coghill says that, while DU in its inert form is safe enough, when it strikes a target it does become a real danger.
"In an impact DU catches fire, and much of the round is turned into burning dust. The particles are extremely small, they can travel up to 300 kilometres. They are also beta-emitters, which are dangerous if inhaled."
The particles can then lodge in the lungs, resisting the body's attempts to flush them out, and can wreak havoc with the immune system. They can migrate to any tissue, though they often make for the kidneys.
Using calculations based on the Pentagon's statement that one in five of the rounds fired by its A-10 aircraft over Kosovo were DU munitions, Mr Coghill estimates that more than 500,000 DU rounds were fired, of which half detonated.
He says that would have resulted in the release of about one thirty-thousandth of the amount of radiation released at Chernobyl in 1986. "But that was in the form of caesium on the ground. This is free-floating particulate matter."

Moar!

4 comments:

  1. So what's the "alternative"...? According to 2005 research,[34] at least some of the most promising tungsten alloys that have been considered as replacement for depleted uranium in penetrator ammunitions, such as tungsten-cobalt or tungsten-nickel-cobalt alloys, also possess carcinogenic properties: rats implanted with a pellet of such alloys developed lethal rhabdomyosarcoma within a few weeks.

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    1. Hyper-finely dispersed heavies can never be good for humans, IMO.

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    2. I suspect that you're right.

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  2. Sounds like they need to "up the v" in the ole e=mv^2 then... ;)

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